A matter of scale
Holy God, You have suffered long in the face of rebellion, but the day is coming when all will be set right.
Read REVELATION 8:1–13
 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.  And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.  Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.  The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.  Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.  Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.  The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood,  a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.  The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water-  the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.  The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.  As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat proceeds the pouring out of judgment in this passage?
One way to sense the divine nature of Revelation is to consider the scale of the events it describes. Almost everything which happens is massive beyond our comprehension. The repeated thirds in this chapter are telling us what a significant chunk of the world is affected by each trumpet call. The seven trumpets herald God’s good, wise, balanced and perfect judgment to come. The seven angels have to confront wickedness and depravity on this planet on a grand scale. We should understand that their responses are no more than is just and necessary. But it is not only God’s own justice that calls these things forth. The angel is carrying a golden censer filled with incense (3). This represents the righteous prayers of God’s saints that are rising to his throne. In verse 10 of chapter six, we saw the martyrs crying out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” God is answering those prayers as well as responding to all of his children who have cried out for justice amid the devastation brought on by God’s enemies.
Ask God to search your heart and life for what displeases him. You are covered by mercy but are called to holiness.
Jesus, thank You that I need not seek to be holy to be accepted, but help me to live holy because I am accepted.